A semi-fictional account of Henri Charrière's time in the penal system in French Guyana - some of it spent on infamous Devil's Island - is presented. It's the early 1930s. Charrière - nicknamed Papillon because of his butterfly tattoo - and Louis Dega are two among many who have been convicted in the French judicial system, they now being transferred to French Guyana where they will serve their time, never to return to France even if they are ever released. A safe-cracker by criminal profession, Papillon is serving a life sentence for murdering a pimp, a crime for which he adamantly states he was framed. Dega is a wealthy counterfeiter, who expects his well-to-do wife eventually to get him released. On Papillon's initiative, Papillon and Dega enter into a business arrangement: Papillon will provide protection for Dega, while Dega will finance Papillon's escape attempt. As Papillon and Degas' time together lasts longer than either expects, their burgeoning friendship ends up being an ...Written by
The prison set was the largest in the film, an 800-foot expanse resulting from two years of research by production designer Anthony Masters. It was built near Falmouth on the north shore of Jamaica. See more »
When Papillon is in his first solitary confinement, a vampire bat bites him and drinks his blood. The wound is two fang-like holes where the blood comes out. A vampire bat doesn't have fangs for teeth. Using their sharp teeth, the bats make tiny cuts in the skin. The bats' saliva contains a chemical that keeps the blood from clotting. The bats then lap up the blood that oozes from the wound. See more »
I know you, you're Degas. You're a very intelligent man!
Thank you. I seem to be known in all the wrong places.
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Terrifying film dealing with life in prison. Not just any prison, but one way off to itself with few fellow human beings around. I think this was McQueen's finest film ever, and perhaps Hoffman's also. I know it has had a lasting effect on me through the years; I have never forgotten the awesome loneliness the prisoners went through. Great picture, thumbs up.
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